The Emerald Isle

first to the king’s overthrow, followed by his cry to the Anglo-Normans for help, who were only too ready to oblige him: Dervorgilla built her church in 1167, and the Anglo-Norman Strongbow was in Waterford with his army by 1169. Two other Christian places in the region must also be mentioned. At one of them, Durrow Abbey, north of Tullamore in Offaly, little remains of a place referred to as a “noble monastery” by the Venerable Bede. The abbey’s greatest contribution to Irish culture, the Book of Durrow , a superbly illuminated manuscript dating from the seventh century, is now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. There is more to see at Fore, in the exceptionally lovely Fore Valley in County Westmeath. At Fore itself is an ancient church believed to date from the time when St. 172 The Midlands